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Andres Saldaña, M.P.H., CSP

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"Being a safety professional to me means that we get to work every day making a difference in people's lives."

Andres Saldaña, M.P.H., CSP - Regional Safety and Health Manager | U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA Region 5

Andres Saldana

What does it mean to you to be a safety professional?

To me, a safety professional is someone who saves lives. We're helping the workers in our respective companies, in our respective industries, we're making a difference in their environment so that they can make it back home, sound and safe, back to their families.


What led you to a career in safety?

I could go back in time when I was in grammar school and my father was around the kitchen table with my mother, and they were talking about an accident that happened on the job site. My dad told me that a person had passed away from a machine that somehow crushed them. So I lived with that for plenty of years, hoping that my dad would not get into any major incidents, or major injuries, and just work safe.

Fast forward a few years, later during college, I decided to take a course elective for my management degree on agricultural safety. I think it was a blessing in disguise because it exposed me to the safety career. Not only in agriculture background but more of an industrial, modern, urban landscape, which is the environment that I come from. I live in a city, but I went to Champaign out in the rural cornfields. So I knew eventually I would come back to Chicago and work. The class also talked about the federal agency that is responsible for worker safety, and I was hooked. And I said, "You know what? As soon as I leave Champaign, I'm going to go up to Chicago, and I'm going to look into making this a career for me," because now that I know that an agency like OSHA exists, I want to make a difference and I want to help out people. I want to make sure that my dad, my cousins, your family member makes it back home safe. And it's a personal gratification, a personal sense of responsibility, to make the world better for everyone.

What do you think about the new organizational name, ASSP?

I really think the new name is making a difference. When I first heard of ASSE, I thought I couldn't join because I had to be an engineer. I think when we're making it a little bit broader by introducing the professional or telling everyone that if you are into safety and if it's part of your career, join us.

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